We live in an era of unimaginable technology. To a visitor from the distant past, this would surely seem like a Utopian age. Yet in many areas of life, things don’t seem to have changed all that much, and transportation is a woeful example of this. The roads are still lined with cars, the skies streaked with airliners.
The imagined revolutionary transportation is now possible with a successfully tested concept known as Hyperloop. Although it is nothing like teleporting or flying but Hyperloop can transfigure public transport reducing time taken to travel on land without any big damages being done to the environment.
All about Hyperloop
The concept of Hyperloop was proposed by the CEO of aerospace firm SpaceX, Elon Musk who is a billionaire inventor. Musk says he got the idea of Hyperloop after he saw a bullet train system in California High Speed Rail System (still under development) which he believes will be an expensive and slow project.
The Hyperloop has two huge tubes which stretch from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The pods which carry the passengers will travel within the tubes at shockingly high speeds of 700 mph. Magnetic accelerators will be placed alongside the length of the tube which will propel the pods to move ahead. There will be a low pressure environment which will encircle the pod with air and will help the pod move safely even at such a high speed.
Since there would be less space pressure build up in front of the pod could pose a problem. There needs to be a way to stop air from forming inside the tube. Musk recommended an air pressure to be put up in front of the pod which will not only move the air from front to the back but will keep it airborne and prevent any pressure build-up which could happen by displacement of air. It has been estimated that traveling by Hyperloop will take you 35 minutes in a one way travel which when compared to traveling by car is around six hours.
All means of transport whether air, road, water and rails are a mix of good and bad. Traveling by road is especially problematic like the prices of petrol and gas or carbon emissions which are very harmful for the environment. With time the environmental dangers of energy depletion will carry on deteriorating and using public transport will become essential in near future.
Rail travel is comparatively much environmental friendly and is less energy consuming but is an expensive affair and is time taking too. For a distance less than 900 miles, this mode of supersonic travel is unrealistic as most of the time would be taken in ascending and descending the aircraft. Keeping in mind these problems Hyperloop intends on making a high speed and cost-effective transport which could be used by the public to travel moderate distance with ease. Solar panels will be installed on the tubes of Hyperloop making them self-sufficient and a self-powering system.
There are some downsides to this project as well. The most sought problem is how the tubes would elevate at such a high speed which is why the system is best to be used for straight trips on leveled grounds.
Since California is prone to earthquakes, Hyperloop has been designed to fight this. The tubes will be mounted on pylons which will be spread all along the route and will be placed at about 100 feet distance. When the earthquakes or thermal expansions happen, the pylons will allow a slip assuring that the tubes are not broken by any movements.
The most important problem that arises is to get any project financially approved by the government especially when something good like this is being done for the masses. Even if an impressive blueprint is produced there are hundreds of more problems standing at the door like regulations, public approval, legislation and contractors who would do the required jobs. Luckily, Musk’s project is cost-efficient and is estimated to be completed within 6 billion dollars whereas the expensive project of California High Speed Railway System has been estimated to cost about 68 billion dollars.
The Questions Which Are Still Unanswered
Although Elon Musk postulated the idea, SpaceX is not developing a commercial Hyperloop of its own. Instead, it has held various competitions to encourage students and engineers to develop prototype pods. To facilitate this, SpaceX built a one mile test track in California.
A Hyperloop test track is built in the middle of the Nevada. It was designed by California company Hyperloop One, who has unveiled ambitious plans to transport people or cargo between cities at near-supersonic speed .
On January 30, 2016, the Space X Hyperloop design competition concluded. More than 100 prototype pod designs were submitted, and 27 teams have won the chance to test their designs on the SpaceX, Hyperloop test track in June 2016. So it’s safe to say that we aren’t going to see this Hyper loop technology in near future.